Agricultural and fishing species at a loss in the Amazon
While years ago people reported growing 12 varieties of yucca in the region, now they only speak of three, and in the case of pineapple there were eight and now only four.Bogotá D. C., 31 de octubre de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
These are just some examples of the resources lost in this region of the country due to soil exhaustion, which adds to a reduction of the fishing and loss of culture, language and ancestral knowledge. This is a great cost for more than 2,800 people, mostly indigenous, which depend on the Yahuarcaca Lagoon System.
This situation was observed during the first stage of a project entitled, “Global change of a marsh of the Amazonian environment: Yahuarcaca system, Leticia, Amazonas,” directed by Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Professor Santiago Duque. The research project points out that the sustainability of the Amazonian basin is at stake in face of the challenges of climate change and the irresponsibility of man.
The new fishing techniques have been displacing traditional practices causing an increasing reduction of the basic product in the diet of the indigenous communities. Duque says that while an average Colombian eats 2 to 3 kilos of fish per year on average, the inhabitants of this region consume 20 kilos a month.
Another worrying aspect is related to the loss of ancestral cropping knowledge and systems such as the chagras. This technique consists of how indigenous communities cropped small forest plots and then abandoned the area so the land could recover and recuperate its natural condition and fertility.
However as many of these land plots were considered barren land they were granted to cattle farmers and landowners. Therefore the indigenous territory was reduced and the fertility of the ground lost.
Added to the list of concerns is the increasing temperature provoking forming of isolated water puddles and holes, an ideal scenario for Zika and malaria transmitting mosquitos.
Professor Duque makes a call to not forget the culture, language and indigenous traditions so ancestral practices and cropping systems are not forever lost.
“Nor the academia or the government can solve the environmental issue of the country by themselves. It is necessary to listen to the inhabitants: indigenous groups, afro-Colombians, country folk that known their territory and can help preserve them,” said Duque.
Towards a second stage
Duque’s project began in June of 2015 and hopes to extend it until the first quarter of 2017.
During the first stage they analyzed three aspects: rebuilding the history of the Yahuarcaca system including the climate changes, previous vegetation and the impact of human influence for more than 130 years.
After they profoundly researched climate change and lastly they analyzed the life of riverine communities through exchanging knowledge, and where science supplements ancestral knowledge.
The goal of the second stage of the project funded by the Science, Technology and Innovation Fund of the Province of Amazonas is to implement sustainability actions to improve the lives of the inhabitants and guarantee their food safety, besides predicting environmental alterations to better react to any eventuality.(Por: Fin/JFMM/LOF